HÖFATS - A FIRE STORY
Come what may - höfats light a fire
What a crazy year lies behind us. There were moments when we asked ourselves - how much turnover do we need to just get by? We actually overestimated to be prepared for everything - but we never let ourselves get dragged down. We tried to think in terms of opportunities, and there were opportunities and we quickly identified them and took advantage of them consistently. We did what we do best: Fire passionately together as a team. We spurred each other on to top performance, stood up for each other and gave everything with our minds and hearts to keep the höfats fire burning more fiercely every day. It is insanely beautiful to experience how we have grown together even more as a team during this difficult and turbulent time. And we are humble enough to know that this is not a matter of course: Many thanks to the best team in the world, which, come what may, never forgets how to light a fire.
SPIN breaks all records
We thought that it could not become better after 2018. But then came 2019. We once more expanded the höfats product range by three additional product groups: BOWL, CRATE and SPIN. Due to an extremely successful crowdfunding campaign in spring – which finally turned out to be the most successful Kickstarter campaign in Germany in 2019 (page 16) – the whirling flame SPIN became known extremely quickly and was a sales hit right from the start. SPIN moreover blazed on the front pages of the design mail-order catalogues CAIRO and ProIdee which additionally fueled our business. In 2019, we were able to double our turnover – a growth of 100%. But what makes us happy even more is our personnel development. In order to cope with and ensure the high dynamic also in the future, we could again acquire great talents for the young and highly motivated höfats team.
höfats – bestes Start-up in Bavaria
At the beginning of 2018, we presented our four new product groups TRIPLE, BEER BOX, ELLIPSE and GRAVITY CANDLE, thus doubling our assortment. The coup of the year, our fire basket CUBE, adorned the front page of the Cairo summer catalogue. In June, we were – to our utter surprise – awarded the steel innovation prize and won the Bavarian Founder Prize as best start-up in Bavaria shortly after. In parallel, we were present on fairs in Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne and Paris. And as we personally were bursting at all seams, we moved into our new home base in Kempten in October. At the end of the year, we received the message that we were winners of three Iconic Awards “Interior Innovation”, among them one “best of best” award for our fire basket CUBE.
We triple our turnover
It felt as if CUBE won almost all design prizes. It hit the markets like a bomb and soon became our bestseller. From 2016 to 2017, we tripled our turnover. This was also due to the fact that we continuously extended our product range, in 2017 especially with our BBQ accessories. In parallel, also the höfats team grew, making us more professional, powerful and simply better.
We launche the multi-talent CUBE
In 2016, we were still busy with optimizing production and supply chains. Nevertheless, our claim was to furthermore develop our product range. We wanted to launch a product which could close the gap between JOHNNY CATCH and CONE, a product that could bring us closer to a conclusive assortment. Thus, the idea for the fire basket CUBE was born: “Is the best fire basket in the world perhaps not only a mere fire basket?”
an exciting start
At the beginning of 2015, we founded our company and immediately started with the production of the charcoal grill CONE. We bought the individual components from specialists all over Germany and assembled the grills ourselves in the Allgäu. The first release was 1.000 grills and the packaging material alone required 32 palettes which equals a full semitrailer. We slowly became aware of the fact what it really means to bring a product onto the market with our own force.
How it all began...
Our fire story began in 2015, but let us start a little bit earlier: We, Christian and Thomas, got to know each other during our studies in mechanical engineering. In the course of a semester project, Thomas had the idea of a BERGMÖNCH. The passion for being in the mountains – on foot as well as on a mountain bike – gave birth to the desire of creating a downhill vehicle which can be comfortably worn on one’s back when going uphill and then mutates into a cross-country downhill vehicle. Shortly afterwards we met. Christian – German Junior Vice Champion in motorbike trial – seemed to be the ideal partner in order to successfully pursue this project. Three months later, a fully functional prototype was ready. We won the Ispo Brand New Award and brought the product in cooperation with the Dutch bike manufacturer KOGA as well as the mountain sports gear manufacturer VAUDE onto the market. But we wanted to go on, we were triggered by the development of products, we became a strong and close unity and a deep friendship had begun, new ideas and product approaches arose. Already before his studies in mechanical engineering, Thomas had already fancied to study product design – so why not now, after the diploma in mechanical engineering. Wouldn’t a combination of technology and design in personal union be an unbeatable profile? We therefore moved from the Allgäu to Berlin right in the same year and registered at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee. Here, a mere number of 15 students per year began their studies, attended by seven professors and 15 lecturers. For sure, the time in Berlin was the most coining and influencing experience for us, above all due to the intensive one to one cooperation with very successful and experienced product designers such as Prof. Helmut Staubach and Prof. Carola Zwick. In every semester, we invented and developed a product, among others the electric bike BERLEEN which we sold to Germany’s biggest bike manufacturer Derby Cycle, a conglomerate of the brands Focus, Raleigh, Univega and Kalkhoff. Functional furniture design projects followed. In this time, our bivalent designer DNA of design and engineering came to light.
Towards the end of our product design studies and having licensed resp. sold some product developments, the desire to try to market products on our own arose. Wouldn’t it be even more fulfilling if we were able to ascertain the success of our products ourselves, if we did not have to give away our babies into strange hands? With our bottle opener JOHNNY CATCH, we launched our first “test balloon”. We tried to market JOHNNY CATCH on our own with all the work and efforts that goes with it… and it even went better than we had imagined. From now on, it was clear for us that we wanted to bring our product developments onto the market under our own flag – this was the birth of the höfats GmbH.